The commonsense part is that Google doesn't have much other choice if it wants to direct its searchers to video, since ESPN is the only publisher with rights to the English-language game footage in the U.S. (Univision has the Spanish-language rights.) ESPN has a deal with Google's YouTube, too, but it doesn't have the rights to publish World Cup clips anywhere but its own site.
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Google and ESPN aren't exchanging any money on this deal and won't share any of the ad revenue each organization generates on its own sites. But ESPN digital head John Kosner says his company will promote its Google partnership on its own properties.
—By Peter Kafka, Re/code.net.
CNBC's parent NBC Universal is an investor in Re/code's parent Revere Digital, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.